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Striving to become research active hospices: the story in one region through roles and collaboration
  1. Joanne Leung1,2,3,4 and
  2. Charlotte Brigden5
  1. 1Ellenor, Gravesend, UK
  2. 2Heart of Kent Hospice, Aylesford, UK
  3. 3Hospice in the Weald, Pembury, UK
  4. 4Wisdom Hospice, Rochester, UK
  5. 5Pilgrims Hospices in East Kent, Canterbury, UK


Background Owing to different governance structures and procedures outside NHS organisations, independent hospices often face challenges to conduct research (Perkins et al., 2014). Yet, The Commission into the Future of Hospice Care highlighted the importance of research in hospices recommending how research could be implemented, including introduction of staff with ‘research’ in job titles and partnerships with universities (Payne et al., 2013).

Aims Five hospices within one region in England have begun implementing research through appointing a research facilitator and a research practitioner. They aim to

  • facilitate collaboration between organisations

  • enhance research awareness among staff

  • support and develop research projects within hospices

  • engage in others’ research

Method The research posts have reached beyond their hospices. One belongs to the regional NIHR CRN and another has a formal link with a local university. In 2015, a local palliative care research group was formed, invited clinicians and academics to develop research activity collaboratively. Both research facilitator and practitioner are members and facilitators of the group.

Results Reviewing the research strategy of the hospices has been initial work to reflect and standardise the research practices across hospices. Abundant information on training, funding opportunities and research studies has also been widely shared amongst hospices. A local research day, the research group and research posts have allowed hospices to work collectively.

Conclusion Work within and between hospices is a stimulating opportunity to include wider patient participation in research, extending the audience to comprehend the importance of research and increasing potential for evidence based palliative care.


  1. Payne S, Preston N, Turner M, Rolls L. Research in palliative care: can hospices afford not to be involved? A report for the Commission into the Future of Hospice Care; 2013. Accessed May 24, 2016

  2. Perkins P, Day R, Hapeshi J, Dixon L, Nyakuhwa R.How to conduct research in an independent hospice: practical tips and advice; 2014. Accessed May 18, 2016

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